Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
Why do people leave their homes and move to unfamiliar places? Historically, there have been surges in immigration during times of famine, war, environmental disasters, and persecution. People move when their survival at home is threatened. Jesus’ family moved across the border to Egypt to escape political violence. And later Joseph moved his family to Nazareth in Galilee because he perceived it to be safer than Judea. In both cases, Joseph relocated when he sensed that his family’s survival was threatened.
Today, refugees endure a multi-year vetting process before being allowed into the United States, and for Syrian refugees, the process can take longer–even though we know the threat of death is real! It is unlikely that Joseph (and Mary and Jesus) would pass the current vetting process to gain entry as refugees or to be given asylum. Picture the interaction:
UN Representative: “Sir, why are you seeking refuge in the US?”
Joseph: I was told in a dream that my son is in danger of being killed.”
UN Representative: I’m sorry. Dreams are not considered credible evidence. Next!”
If Joseph were to enter the U.S. today, he would likely have to come in as an undocumented immigrant making Jesus, ironically, a ‘Dreamer’ (alien minor).
Question for Reflection:
What do you think God wants us to learn from Jesus’ experience as a refugee and an immigrant?
Nothing will be posted on Sunday, March 5.